With three days’ worth of time-shifting now tallied, E!’s premiere episode of The Royals has reached an audience of 3.4 million viewers. The cable network’s first-ever scripted series, it also averaged 1.6 million adults 18-49.
It’s a solid enough entry for the primetime soap, though there’s little to compare it to. The network’s highest-rated series, reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, brought in 4.8 million viewers and 3.1 million adults 18-49 in the same time span for an episode that aired that same night.
The increase in cable networks that offer scripted programming has made it hard to contextualize a number like 3.4 million viewers. It’s not exactly a smash success, but it is better than a lot of live-plus-3 scores that many cable series are averaging right now. And, with encores and plays on sister networks, E! says the show has reached 5.3 million viewers. That gross number puts it just behind NBCUniversal cable sibling USA Network’s Dig — which grossed 5.8 million viewers for its first episode.
E! will have patience with The Royals, though it was confident enough already to order a second season. It’s already performing well with women — which the network had targeted. It’s the second biggest cable launch this year among women 18-34 and women 18-49, behind AMC smash Better Call Saul.